Got a lot more writing done today than I did yesterday. Didn’t keep track, but I think it was in the area of about 4000 words.
Also finished listening to Bird by Bird, which I plan to write a review of later on in the week.
I’ve had the burst of inspiration I need to finish up most of the current freelancing I’m doing. Now the only thing that remains is to turn that inspiration into good writing.
Our temper sets a price upon every gift that we receive from fortune.François de La Rochefoucauld
There’s an old cliche about not looking gift horses in the mouth.
Our brains are wired to function in a primal mode most of the time, even if we aren’t conscious of it. We’re not thinking rationally because reason is something that has to be learned and consciously practiced, and even then we’re emulating it rather than really owning it as a function of our being.
So when we see something good, our first reaction is to look for the trap. Maybe our newfound bounty will attract larger, more dangerous scavengers.
A manifestation of this is that we’re often more critical of the good things in our life than we are of the bad ones.
Think of how many ways a loved one can annoy or irritate you. If you’re a writer, like I am (kinda), you will have realized (or will soon realize) that they can be very distracting, especially if they take advantage of your “free time” when you need to be exercising the discipline of writing.
This is only exacerbated by the modern era.
If only we lived without the joys of modern telecommunication. We’d just have to deal with constant uncertainty and lose access to the ability to get in touch with all our business associates, friends, and distant relatives at any moment!
A small price to pay, is it not?
However, it is much better to have both loved ones and technology in our lives. There are costs associated with them, either in the form of the dollar or the investment of time, effort, and emotion that accompanies relationships. We call this sacrifice, in case anyone was curious.
If you don’t have loved ones and you don’t have technology, you probably feel it. I don’t think I’d be able to write a thousand words per hour (I have written 400 words in eight minutes just now) without an electronic device of some sort. I could maybe pull it off with a typewriter, if I were really disciplined and had time to practice. My handwriting is so abysmal due to my pitiable manual dexterity that I doubt I would ever reach anything close, and I’d struggle to stay legible, in manual writing.
Perhaps I could have made do with dictation, but that’s only become trivially inexpensive in the modern day with the advent of computers that do it, and even then you wind up with all sorts of issues.
But technology is also our greatest distraction in the modern age. It’s full of wonders, delights, terrors, trivia.
It gives us a way to spend our whole lives doing nothing at all, like reading the blogs of master’s degree students or taking a voyeur-like interest in videos of cats, and those are at least redeemable uses of the internet. Cats are good for the soul, and mine has been deceased for some months. I live vicariously until my lifestyle and fear of loss return to a state which will allow me to welcome a new companion into my life.
We are often better at finding the benefits in our suffering than in our strength. My cat passed away right before I was due to leave town for a week and a half; she was killed by a stroke and if it had happened when nobody was around to check on her she would probably have died of thirst and hunger. The designated catsitter would have been informed of her reclusive tendencies and thought nothing of the disappearance until it was too late. Although her passing was difficult to deal with, there was a small glimmer of relief in the sense that we were able to be there with her as she suffered and were able to have her put down before she suffered terribly.
On the other hand, if you asked me what the benefits of my teaching job were before I left to go back to school full-time, I would have hemmed and hawed and had a really hard time giving you a concrete answer that really spoke to the truth. It’s not that I don’t miss teaching (I cried for hours on my last day), but rather that it’s easy to overlook how nice things were when you were busy actually dealing with them, how much watching students grow brings meaning and satisfaction to your life.
Appreciate the strengths of the good things; they may not be so obvious as they are made out to be.
Accept pain when it offers opportunity and improvement.
Remember that most things I have, even the things that are “intrinsic” to me, can be taken for granted and lost. Do not let that cause anxiety. Instead let it encourage me to use what I have when I have it.